Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Like Exercise In Daily Life, Collaboration Tools Should Be Embedded Into the Work Day

The Enterprise 2.0 conference is going on in San Jose and twitter is thick with talk about collaboration. I read about and saw the demos of several very well done collaboration tools that enable people-to-people conversation and document centric collaboration. Many of them claim to have one or more integration points with other business tools. This is very good and I am sure they worked hard to design and build these tools.

But this seems like how we treat exercise in our life. We are very busy with our work and life. So much so that our cholesterol and blood sugar levels have affected out ability to work. Our doctor advises us to exercise for 30 minutes a day. So we drive to the closest 24 hour fitness center, use the escalator to get to our tread mill fast and spend 30 minutes on the tread mill.  Some day we miss it or are too tired to do it, because we treat it like one more necessary evil.

We clearly know that there is something wrong with the picture above. Many communities and workplaces in the world such as my office are encouraging people to take the stairs, and build exercise into the fabric of their daily life.

Let me compare collaboration with exercise. As i pointed out in a previous post, collaboration had become the main framework of how we work today. Collaboration is not a necessary evil. It is not just what the Facebook generation does. It is how people from all generations get work done today.

Collaboration tools should enable people to embrace this fundamental shift in the work place. Collaboration tools should be embedded in the fabric of every day work.  The next generation systems must start with people-to-people collaboration tools and build business apps around them. The approach should not be to build stand-alone collaboration tools and boast about one or more integration points.

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